We can never keep, never predict our fortunes for the coming year (mlyt)
August 8, 2015 3:03 PM   Subscribe

August 8 is the birthday of Faye Wong (a/k/a Wang Fei a/k/a 王菲 ). Mefi's own Zompist had this to say about her her.

"Who's Faye Wong?

An actress in Wong Kar-Wei's Chungking Express -- the fast food assistant in the second part who falls in love, in an obsessive teenage way, with a cop. The Chicago Tribune critic got it exactly right: Faye Wong is one of those actresses the camera loves. You can't keep your eyes off her.
One hell of a cutie.
One of Hong Kong's top pop singers. Born in Bêijing, she sings in both Mandarin and Cantonese. (She looks young, but she's 27.) The Cocteau Twins contributed two songs and a good deal of inspiration to one of her latest albums, Fúzào (Impetuous), on which you can hear, of all things, Chinese scat-singing.
The singer of the theme song in Final Fantasy VIII

...Although it's not hard to find Faye tribute pages, it's not so easy to find her lyrics translated into English..."

That was in 1996-1997. By 2015, link rot has long since taken the tribute pages and the lyrics site bunnies bunnies everywhere (archive link).

YouTube users on Faye Wong

etcmail2047 says "Faye Wong's famous "Pledge" from her classic 1994 album, Sky. It was a significant milestone for popular music in Asia as one of the first popular songs to seamlessly combine musical elements from the East and West."
rickotube says "This alternate version of "Serpentskirt" was recorded by Faye Wong (Wangfei), featuring Liz on backing"
Although many of Faye's MV's on YouTube have Karaoke captioning,
SUSIE AU 區雪兒 has this playlist with cleaner versions of a selection of videos, including The Moon at that Moment featuring five Faye Wongs.
She did not direct this pair of videos, Passing Years and Wandering Red Shoes
Or this one: Idiot from Big Shot's Funeral

Now in 2015, standing in the vantage of nearly 2 decades later, we find a selection of our Faye Wong English Subtitling needs fulfilled by
ryuumuchuu: "Faye Wong for English speaking fans! Lots of Faye's live performances and music videos with English subtitles."

Therein is the video which prompted this post Passing Years (流年) by Faye Wong (王菲) with English Subtitles
posted by otherchaz (27 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh my god, I had only ever heard Faye Wong's music and had no idea what she looked like, so I had no idea that was her in Chungking Express. Worlds colliding, mind blown, etc. Anyway, great post! I love her collaborations with the Cocteau Twins.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:22 PM on August 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Three favorites from her '98-'99 HK Scenic Tour (a terrific live album):

"Face" (臉)

"Decadence" (墮落)

"Undercurrent" (暗湧)
posted by Auden at 3:33 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


She looks young, but she's 27.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. All the rest of the day, ha ha ha ha ha.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:50 PM on August 8, 2015 [15 favorites]


I mostly know her from Chungking Express. That movie is the coolest. She is the coolest.
posted by naju at 4:47 PM on August 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


27?? Is that a joke? She's 46.
posted by bearette at 5:46 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, I love her music. I remember when "My 1997" came out. It inspired me to make many mix tapes and CDs all called "My 1997" that were sort of riffs on what her music and lyrics made me think of.
posted by Frowner at 5:51 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


(The "27" part is from comments made in 1996-1997. And 27 was older than a lot of of dewy-eyed singers, I guess.)

Huge fan. Though now her music immediately brings me back to college...and translating "Liu Xing" for my Chinese class. Thanks a lot for all of the links, otherchaz!
posted by wintersweet at 5:56 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


When I read the title, I thought it was a quote from Faye Valentine of Cowboy Bebop. She also looked young...
posted by 3urypteris at 6:14 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hells yes. For people who want to get into her music "impatience" is probably her most interesting album.
posted by chunking express at 8:43 PM on August 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hells yes. For people want to get into her music "impatience" is probably her most interesting album.
posted by chunking express at 8:43 PM on August 8


I am in awe of what just happened there: chunking express just expressed to the impatient the fastest route to get into Faye's music.

Eponysterical.
posted by otherchaz at 9:19 PM on August 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


I love her olderstuff too, only love strangers. One of the first singers that made me interested in learning chinese!
posted by Datshloomster at 9:32 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the videos and the plug! I wrote that page of course back in the days when there was no YouTube, and gifs had to be animated by turning a crank. I will have to go back and add Unicode.

If you have a hankering for more Wong Kar-wai movies, Faye was also in 2046. (Trailer)
posted by zompist at 10:03 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh cool! I've been a fan since probably 1999, when I remember being in Hong Kong and buying a few stacks of random pirated CDs off some dude in an alley to try out some local music. I probably picked them by the album cover and if I could read the title. Listening to them, though (on a hard sleeper to somewhere), turns out it was album after album of schmaltzy pop that got old quick. Until I pulled Scenic Tour out of the stack. In context, it was a crazy revelation that I listened to on repeat for a while. Emotional Life off that album is one of my favorite songs ever. I think I might have included it on a Music Swap CD at some point, even...
posted by gemmy at 10:37 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Chungking Express is probably one of my all-time favorite movies and although I knew that Faye was also a singer, I never listened to any of her songs until now.

And I love it! Thus I nominate otherchaz as my person of the day.
posted by bigendian at 11:10 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I hadn't taken the time to really dig into her music so thanks for this post!

I only knew of her from Eyes On Me, and then one day I randomly came across Tori Amos's "Silent All These Years", which I love, and that lead me to Faye's cover, "Cold War", which isn't as snarky when translated, but I love how it sounds even though I don't understand the language.
posted by numaner at 8:42 AM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Which of her songs are best? Which are most like the Cocteau Twins? (Or is that the same question?)
posted by pracowity at 9:51 AM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


pracowity, my favorite Faye Wong songs are the first half of Fable (also).
posted by The arrows are too fast at 11:03 AM on August 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The links that are most like The Cocteau Twins are near the top of the post and in her cover of Serpentskirt you can hear Liz in the background.
Personally I like all of her stuff. If, like me, you enjoy a gorgeous voice, then having the words mean something is a bonus.
posted by otherchaz at 11:04 AM on August 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yay, Faye Wong is diva writ large in Asia.

I can listen to "Passing Years" and "Undercurrent" on auto repeat forever.
posted by em at 4:42 PM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have long considered her cover of "Dreams" from Chungking Express the superior version, even though I don't understand a word of Cantonese.
posted by Gelatin at 9:00 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lyricist 林夕 and composer 梁翘柏 worked on a lot of Faye's most famous songs. A recent favorite is the theme song to the movie 匆匆那年 ("Fleet of Time")

For kicks I'm including my rough translation of the lyrics below:

匆匆那年我们究竟说了几遍 Yesteryear how many times did we repeat
再见之后再拖延 and delay our goodbyes
可惜谁有没有爱过不是一场 Too bad whether we loved or not was only
七情上面的雄辩 a grand exercise in emotions
匆匆那年我们一时匆忙撂下 Yesteryear we hurriedly laid aside
难以承受的诺言 promises that are hard to keep
只有等别人兑现 only to wait for others to realize them

不怪那吻痕还没积累成茧 Don't blame kiss marks haven't hardened into cocoons
拥抱着冬眠也没能羽化成仙 We hibernate in embrace but can't emerge and become immortals
不怪这一段情没空反复再排练 Don't blame that we didn't have enough time to rehearse this love affair
是岁月宽容恩赐反悔的时间 Time is generous to grant us time enough for regret

如果再见不能红着眼 If we can't meet again without reddened eyes
是否还能红着脸 can we still blush?
就像那年匆促刻下永远一起 Just like yesteryear we carved 'together forever'
那样美丽的谣言 such beautiful rumours
如果过去还值得眷恋 If the past is still worth wallowing and remembrance
别太快冰释前嫌 don't forgive and forget so quickly
谁甘心就这样 Who would rather
彼此无挂也无牵 become strangers without care or ties
我们要互相亏欠 We want to stay in each other's debt
要不然凭何怀缅 Otherwise what do we remember by, remember by

匆匆那年我们见过太少世面 Yesteryear we saw very little of the world
只爱看同一张脸 and only loved to look at the same face
那么莫名其妙那么讨人欢喜 somehow so endearing
闹起来又太讨厌 sometimes quite annoying
相爱那年活该匆匆因为我们 For sure the year in love passed too quickly since we
不懂顽固的诺言 didn't understand that stubborn promises
只是分手的前言 are only preludes to parting of ways

不怪那天太冷泪滴水成冰 Don't blame that cold day when tears turned into ice
春风也一样没吹进凝固的照片 Spring wind can't reach into frozen photos
不怪每一个人没能完整爱一遍 Don't complain that none of us can have a complete love
是岁月善意落下残缺的悬念 The years treat us kindly to leave broken suspense

如果再见不能红着眼 If we can't meet again without reddened eyes
是否还能红着脸 can we still blush?
就像那年匆促刻下永远一起 Just like yesteryear we carved 'together forever'
那样美丽的谣言 such beautiful rumours
如果过去还值得眷恋 If the past is still worth wallowing and remembrance
别太快冰释前嫌 don't forgive and forget so quickly
谁甘心就这样 Who would rather
彼此无挂也无牵 become strangers without care or ties
我们要互相亏欠 We want to stay in each other's debt
我们要藕断丝连 Broken lotus roots yet have connecting strands
posted by of strange foe at 3:02 PM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm including my rough translation of the lyrics below:


of strange foe I acknowledge you, for whatever you gave to translate the lyrics, for whatever it took to get the truth of the lyrics.
posted by otherchaz at 8:39 AM on August 11, 2015


otherchaz, you are most kind... This song somehow strikes a chord, and I didn't notice that ryuumuchuu already uploaded his/her subtitles.

I found anther gem, 'Smoke' in ryuumuchuu's channel. The lyricist sneaked in a number of Buddhist allusions - '花非花', '泡影', '拈花微笑' - the whole 'life is but a fleeting illusion' bit. Also, 林夕 himself professed to have packed a lot of meaning into the words of "Hypnosis".
posted by of strange foe at 3:07 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


of strange foe, I clicked on your link regarding 林夕 (Lin Xi), and then I turned to google translate for assistance. Glimmers of meaning sparkled in the rubble of words. However this line resonated: "Lindsay usual style, obviously have sad to the bone, but also to tell others, it's all gone, and I have accepted."

I read this as, "Lin Xi's usual style is, obviously, sad to the bone, but also tells others, "(The sadness is) all gone, and I have accepted (it)."
Two examples come to mind,
哗一声之后 (After the Beep): the quiet resigned exasperation of the target of a one way affection.
你喜歡不如我喜歡 (My Likes Are More Important Than Yours): the selfish reckless giddiness of the enamored.

Hal David provides a counterexample where the feeling is mutual The Look of Love
posted by otherchaz at 6:27 PM on August 11, 2015


FWIW this post impelled me to finish translating the rest of that album. The process is so much easier in this modern world of tomorrow.

(Google Translate is really awful at Chinese. otherchaz, I checked that line, and you've pretty much got it.)
posted by zompist at 7:39 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


FWIW this post impelled me to finish translating the rest of that album

I was/am a fan of zompist.com so my head just now kind of exploded a little bit...I mean, wow, thank you! (^ _ ^ )
posted by otherchaz at 7:58 PM on August 11, 2015


otherchaz, yes, that line you quoted, is pretty much why I like "Fleet of Time" so much. It allows sadness but not bitter sorrow(as in '哀而不伤'). And the rhyme throughout is so delicate, which is of course entirely lost in translation. Thank you for linking to "My Likes Are More Important Than Yours". I'm but a casual fan and have missed out on many of her great songs.

zompist, it's fun to look at the lyrics in the Decadent Music album. They are so direct and 'square', very much not one ever sees nowadays. Yet Faye updated those old standards and made them sound almost fresh. (One has not heard treacle if one has not listened to a Teresa Tan tape on auto-repeat over PA on a long-distance bus somewhere in provincial China. It was already the late 1990s, there was no excuse for such schmaltz and my ears are still bitter.)
posted by of strange foe at 10:40 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


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